I don’t shave every day. Actually not even close. In my head that is a pragmatic choice – I am not sufficiently hirsute to warrant it. But I am aided by a secular trend of beard tolerance, which means that I can get away with shaving irregularly.
Not that my facial hair is universally well-received – indeed some of my nearest and dearest are very definitely in the detractors camp. But I hadn’t considered the global impact of my actions until I saw that P&G had reported an after-tax charge of $8 billion on its Gillette Shave Care line, as “lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razor’s market”. That’s quite a few Smooth Shaves.
I’m not saying it was all my fault, and I’m not saying I am sat here worrying about the nice people of Proctor and Gamble, with their $288.56B market cap at time of writing. But shaving does feel like such a staple, stable activity, so it is a good reminder that all businesses have a finite time horizon.
The industry isn’t dead of course, the market has also seen increased direct-to-consumer competition which has likely added salt to the Gillette shaving cut. And fashion may yet swing back towards a clean shave (god forbid). If it does, I wonder whether there might be a revolution in shaving technology, doing away with the humble razor. Though I kind of hope not – I think the world has more pressing needs right now, however many times I cut my chin.